India has lost an icon: Chandrababu Naidu

Hyderabad, (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday expressed his deep shock and anguish over the demise of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, saying India has lost an icon.

Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was instrumental in proposing Kalam’s candidature for the post of president, described him as dear friend and one of the noblest human beings he has met in his life.

“I’m deeply saddened. My deepest condolences. Dr. Kalam & I shared a great bond. His achievements as a fine scientist, scholar, teacher and a mentor are immeasurable. He will remain in our hearts,” Naidu said in his statement.

“During the NDA rule in the country under (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s prime ministership, we had collectively proposed his name for the country’s first citizen – that of the president.”

“No adjectives can highlight the exemplary contribution of Dr. Kalam to India’s space and defence programs. His humility and the generosity have won every Indian’s heart. India has lost a legend of a man,” the chief minister said, recalling his memories of Kalam.

Naidu recalled the former president’s gesture of setting aside protocol and visiting him in October 2003 at his residence, soon after he (Naidu) survived an attack by Maoists.

“I remember Dr. Kalam talking to me about leadership qualities that are essential to serve people and the society,” Naidu said.

“Dr. Kalam showed us that life is not rocket science and his teachings have ignited minds across the globe. He continues to be our guiding light and we can never forget how he taught us to dream big,” the chief minister said.

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